A legendary figure, Babaji is considered to be a perfected Being and embodied for centuries for the sole purpose of assisting enlightenment. Babaji is said to be identical with Krishna.
"The Kriya Yoga that I am giving to the world is the same science that Krishna gave to Arjuna"
Kabir is said to be one of Babaji's initiates.
Until the initiation of Sri Lahiri Mahasaya, Kriya Yoga was reserved to selected Initiates.
When Lahiri was initiated by Babaji he was told to freely initiate any serious seeker. Among Lahiri's many initiates:
Sri Yukteswar, Pranabananda, Ram Gopal, Keshavananda Avadhut, Shastri Mahasaya, and Sri Tinkori Lahiri (the son of Lahiri Mahasaya).
Many disciples have been initiated and many teaching centers have been established by Sri Yukteswar. His most famous disciple is Paramahansa Yoganada
|Sri Tinkori Lahiri|
Sri Satya Charan Lahiri (son of Tinkori Lahiri)
Sri Shibendu Lahiri (son of Charan Lahiri)
|Yogananda is said to have personally known Babaji, Mahasaya, and his Guru Sri Yukteswar. Against his inclination, Yogananda was chosen by Babaji and Sri Yukteswar to introduce Kriya Yoga to the West in 1920. For this purpose Yogananda wrote his inspiring Autobiography of a Yogi (now translated into many languages), initiated and ordained ministers, and founded the Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF).|
Photo of Paramahansa Yogananda courtesy of the SRF
In the West, Kriya Yoga is spread mainly through:
Self-Realization Fellowship (SRF), Spiritual leader: Sri Mrinalini Mata
Center for Spiritual Awareness (CSA), Spiritual leader: Roy E. Davis
Ananda Church of Self-Realization, Founder: Swami Kriyananda
Babaji's Kriya Yoga Order of Acharyas, Founder: Marshall Govindan Satchidananda
Temple of Kriya Yoga, Spiritual leader: Sri Goswami Kriyananda
Basic books for Kriya Yogis are:
Autobiography of a Yogi, The Bhagavad Gita, The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali
Further Reading: Self-Realization Articles ~ Kriya Yoga ~ Paramahansa Yogananda